CAT Match 5 – Croatia SC “B”

Kickoff: 4:00pm Saturday, October 9th at Point Grey Turf

On Thanksgiving long weekend, an understaffed CAT side took the field against a young reserve team from Croatia SC. The game was played in torrential rain, and that combined with the general clumsiness of many of the Croatia players lead to some pretty woeful tackles, none of which were even cautioned by the Eastern European referee.

Early in the match Croatia missed an opportunity to jump out to a shock lead as a missed header in the Rino’s backline allowed them to play a ball across the box to a wide open left winger, who with the net gaping wide open duly smashed the ball off the outside of the post! This served as a wake up call to the Rino’s as they started attacking in waves. If it were not for the heroics of Croatia’s pint-sized, rotund goalkeeper, they would have surely been behind by halftime. Instead Rino’s strikeforce was left wondering just what it would take to find the back of the net.

The second half was dominated by Rino’s, as any time Croatia entered their half they were dispossessed by the likes of Stefan, Sam, and Ashkan. So comfortable were they in fact, that Sam was often seen pushing up the field ahead of the midfielders in search of the elusive goal. Far from a thing of

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beauty, the goal finally came when 2nd half substitute Vinny Martin (who came directly from playing in the 2pm Div 1 game) sliced a cross in front of the net and it was poked home by another substitute, Gowan Gillis. Despite further pressure, including some free kicks in dangerous areas, Rino’s were unable to score again and settled for the 1-nil victory. The win evened their record after 5 games at 2-1-2.

Team: Henrique De Sousa, Khosrovi, Caulfield, Chow, Jinks(Nolan 80), Crompton(Ford 45), Shih(Freedman 70), Hill, Wilhelm(Martin 45), Nolan(Kaplan 45), Pritchard(Gillis 55)

CAT Match 4 – Westside FC "B"

Kickoff: 12:00 pm Saturday, October 2nd at Andy Livingstone East

Rino’s “B” team faced off against arch-rival Westside FC “B” on Saturday without inspirational captain Vinny Martin. After being on stellar form for the first 3 matches of the season, Vinny was rewarded with an invitation to go on a trek to North Surrey with the “A” team as they faced off against Desmesh FC. Stepping up to fill the vacancy was former goalkeeper-turned defender, Stefan Caulfield, who started the game in the heart of the defense.

A 4-4-1-1 formation was employed, and Rino’s started brightly with the returning Tim Pritchard causing Westside’s defence fits with his pace. A nice bit of build up lead to Chris Thompson flashing a shot just wide from the top of the box, and the teams were taking turns going on the offensive. Unfortunately this was as good as it got for Rino’s men in the first half. A lack of marking in the midfield, combined with a string of turnovers including a botched short corner-kick lead to too many Westside

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attacks and finally culminated in a goal.

It was almost inevitable that a goal would be scored as Westside attacked down the left and Caulfield uncharacteristically took a tumble, allowing the opposition an odd-man rush. As the remaining defenders squeezed over, the ball was laid back across the penalty area where the Westside midfielder had a free strike on goal. To everyone’s surprise the shot rebounded off the post and when Rino’s Under 21 alumnus, Michael Honey, corralled the rebound and flopped to the ground under Crompton’s panicked challenge, the referee awarded Westside a penalty kick. Honey himself stepped up to the spot, and his scuffed shut was fortunate to find the back of the net with Henrique de Sousa diving the wrong way.

Half-time brought a number of substitutions, and none shone brighter in the second half than Yuda Shih. He used his pace to repeatedly terrorize Westside’s left-back, and if only his crosses were a little more precise the team may have reaped the rewards of a goal. Also entering the midfield at the halfway mark, Declan Hill showed off his passing precision as he sprayed the ball about and helped to open up the Westside defense. Unfortunately, the next goal came against the run of play, as some lax marking by Rino’s back-line afforded the aforementioned Michael Honey too much time and space and he again found the back of the net.

Rino’s continued to push forward in search of a goal, and while they had few clear cut opportunities did manage to play in some dangerous crosses and were awarded numerous corner kicks. On one corner kick, which the opposition failed to clear, Ashkan Khosrovi, who was recently re-introduced into the game took matters into his own hands as he jinked past a couple of defenders and smashed the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

Rino’s played the remaining 10 minutes with 3 forwards, but the offensive push was too little, too late and the final whistle sounded with the scoreline reading 2-1 in favour of Westside.

Team: Henrique De Sousa, Khosrovi(Simey 45), Caulfield, Chow(Khosrovi 75), Crompton(McArthur 45, Ardila Garcia 82), Thompson(Shih 45), Arceneaux, Nolan(Hill 45), Ford(Cougny 45), O’Genski(Jinks 67), Pritchard(Crowe 45)

CAT Match 3 – UBC Metropolitan “B”

Kickoff: 4:00 pm Saturday, September 25th at Pt. Grey Turf

It was an afternoon of firsts for the 2010-2011 Rino “B” squad, with no stat more important than the three points collected after a well deserved victory.

After two disappointing outings to start the season, the build up to the match had been all business – expectations demanding nothing short than a commanding team effort.

With nearly a full squad to choose from (only Derrick, Ben Cougny and Corby out), Rino’s started the match with a positive 4-4-2 formation: Paulo, Sam, Stefan, Ash, Brandon, Vinny, Ryan Arceneaux, Jordan Atkinson, Adam, Corey Ford, Max.

Rino’s immediately took charge of the match, some neat passing moves pressuring the Metro backline into conceding two early corners. After barely allowing the opposition out of their half, Rino’s were rewarded with a goal on fifteen minutes.

Following some excellent interplay between Sam and Adam down the left flank, Corey Ford found the ball at his feet on the edge of the penalty area and wasted no time unleashing an unstoppable left footed drive over the outstretched Metro goalkeeper.

Having chosen an opportune time to open his account for the season, Ford will now be hoping to maintain his run of games which has – at least temporarily – vaulted him ahead of Sami Salo in the ‘most likely to be injured getting out of bed’ category.

The goal seemed to spur Metro into action as they increasingly entered the game. While Rino’s had bossed the opening minutes with their movement and short passing, the game became more and more and aerial battle that favoured the away side.

Despite dropping Adam into an attacking midfield role to adopt a 4-5-1 formation, Rino’s struggled to re-assert their earlier dominance. If anything Metro were guilty of wasting the few opportunities they created and the game went into half time with the one goal separating the two sides.

A number of substitutions were made at half time which reflected more of a ‘fresh legs’ approach than our earlier ‘line changes.’ In stepped Ben Motum and Oscar at the back, Damien, Declan and Greg in midfield, while Gowen was brought in as the lone striker to work energetically up front.

Ford’s absence left fans in the terraces asking a few questions – many wondering if a dressing room bust-up had occurred during the Rino half time talk. Fortunately it was later revealed that Ford had left the park to squeeze in a visit to Yossi Benayoun’s witch doctor for his weekly placenta treatment. After all one can never be too safe, Salo’s return from injury is likely scheduled for early 2011 and he has only just celebrated his 36th birthday.

Mute points aside, both teams immediately pressed in search of goals after the re-start. But it was Rino’s who controlled the majority of possession, most of the players getting involved in some slick movements from wing to wing. Damien, Ryan and Vinny displayed good industry in the middle of the park and the back line stood strong against Metro’s attacks. Paulo, largely a spectator, responded well when called into action.

The further introduction of Robin and Alex provided a spark for Rino’s just as Metro were tiring and becoming more desperate in their quest for an equalizer. As Metro pushed forward, Rino’s were quick on the counter, Greg’s darting run picked out by Vinny, only for his shot to be well blocked by the keeper. By far the best chance of the half fell to Adam in the dying moments, with only the keeper to beat he blazed over from ten yards.

Rino’s played out the remainder of the match with ten men after Robin succumbed to an unfortunate broken finger. Yet it made little difference in the end, as Rino’s celebrated their first win and first clean sheet of the season. Our record now stands at 1-1-1 with three goals scored and three conceded.

Final Score: Rino’s 1 – UBC Metropolitan 0

CAT Match 2 – Norvan Saints

Kickoff: 5:00 pm Sunday, September 19th at Sutherland Turf

Entering our first away match of the season one could not help but recall our last trip to Sutherland Turf on Sunday, September 13th 2009 (Norvan Saints 3 vs W Rino’s 1).

While we again left North Vancouver with nothing to show for our efforts, we can at least take away the fact that our overall performance was much better. In fact if not for the comical (even school-boy) fashion with which we conceded our two goals, we certainly would have taken a share of the points from this match.

With only nineteen players on hand we started with a strong, attacking line-up. Our ability to close down the opposition led to a number of early mistakes from the Saints. After creating some good opportunities

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we were rewarded for our bright start with a somewhat fortuitous goal by Ben: his looping strike from the right-wing finding its way over the hapless Saints keeper.

What happened shortly there after was a sign of things to come.

On a day where I had earlier witnessed Anton Ferdinand – who surely had Cesc Fabregas in his own fantasy pool – conspire to gift Arsenal an early led at the Stadium of Light and Richard Stearman gift the hopeless Alan Hutton his first goal since early 2007 at White Hart Lane, I might have expected the extra-ordinary.

However, nothing could prepare us for the amazing own goal which followed Ben’s opener and brought the teams level at half time (enough said about that)!

After the re-start Rino’s again struggled to get up to speed as a number of the mass substitutes looked to find their touches. With the rain continuing to fall, play was bogged down in the middle of the pitch and both sides were guilty of stray passing on the slick turf.

Towards the middle of the second half, Rino’s again came to life but failed to test the Saints keeper who had proven himself shaky in the first half (other than Max’s usual hustle in which he somehow managed to injure himself rather than the keeper this time).

As the match neared an end there really was only one question left to be answered: what do set-pieces, long throw-ins and corner kicks have in common for RVSC ‘B’? The answer was unfortunately that we struggled to defend them and so handed Saints all three points following a scramble in our penalty area.

It was a disappointing way to end an otherwise even contest, yet the performance can at least be seen as a step in the right direction for a team with expectations as lofty as ours.

Team: 4-4-2 and still too many to remember…

Final Score: Norvan 2 – Rino’s 1

CAT Match 1 – Coq. Metro-Ford Wolves “B”

Kickoff: 4:00pm Saturday, September 11th at Pt. Grey Turf

Having spent the summer designing a plan to lull their 2010-2011 opposition into a false sense of security – a subtle change in the club’s name – reigning CAT Division ‘A’ champions RVSC spent Saturday afternoon doing their best to undo such clever thinking.

On this wet, dearly and frustrating afternoon Rino’s fans were left wondering how a seemingly simple three points were turned into a disappointing one.

The organizational gap between the two opponents was clear from the get-go. RVSC showed up readily prepared and eager to begin the season with twenty-two players dressed. Conversely the Wolves struggled to field ten players for kickoff.

Despite turning this obvious miss-match into early dominance, Rino’s failed to hit the back of the net. This early on in the season the squad can be forgiven for needing some time to gel, particularly with so many players making their club debuts. However, judging by the disarray of the opposition, there was clearly something more than mere cohesion lacking in our performance.

Roughly twenty-five minutes into an otherwise uneventful first half, Rino’s managed to piece together a fluid counter-attacking movement and after good work down the right wing, Ben fired in a cross which was expertly headed home from 8 yards by Max.

To address the fact that twenty-two players were dressed for this game; Rino’s made ten substitutions at half time (only Paulo in goal remained). Management required the chance to see many of the new players in action but the result of the wide-spread changes was unavoidable. While Wolves had been increasingly fighting their way back into the game, our fresh substitutes were simply not up to game speed and were immediately pegged back.

To their credit, Rino’s turned things around and created some good opportunities; Corey firing just wide and Vinny testing the keeper with a chip from 30 yards after clever play from Alex.

However victory was simply not to be for Rino’s. Following a late corner kick for Wolves, a goal-bound header was unceremoniously handled on the goal-line by Yuda. Wolves buried the resulting spot-kick and the game fizzled out with RVSC down to ten men. Unfortunately the only real positive I can see from this performance was the fact that last year we were beat 3-0 on our home opener.

Team: 4-4-2 but too many names to even remember!

Final Score: Rino’s 1 – Wolves 1